Benedict on evolution:
"…science has long since disposed of the concepts that we have just now heard – the idea of a world that is completely comprehensible in terms of space and time, and the idea that creation was built up piece by piece over the course of seven [or six] days. Instead of this we now face measurements that transcend all comprehension. Today we hear of the Big Bang, which happened billions of years ago and with which the universe began its expansion – an expansion that continues to occur without interruption. And it was not in neat succession that the stars were hung and the green of the fields created; it was rather in complex ways and over vast periods of time that the earth and the universe were constructed as we now know them…
“We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the ‘project’ of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary – rather than mutually exclusive – realities. But let us look a little closer, because here, too, the progress of thought in the last two decades helps us to grasp anew the inner unity of creation and evolution and of faith and reason. It was a particular characteristic of the 19th century to appreciate the historicity of all things and the fact that they came into existence. It perceived that things that we used to consider as unchanging and immutable were the product of a long process of becoming. This was true not only in the realm of the human but also in that of nature. It became evident that the universe was not something like a huge box into which everything was put in a finished state, but that it was comparable instead to a living, growing tree that gradually lifts its branches higher and higher to the sky…It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith.”
Benedict on design:
“Microbiology and biochemistry have brought revolutionary insights here. They are constantly penetrating deeper into the inmost mysteries of life, attempting to decode its secret language and to understand what life really is. In so doing they brought us to the awareness that an organism and a machine have many points in common. For both of them realize a project, a thought-out and considered plan, which is itself coherent and logical. Their functioning presupposes a precisely thought-through and therefore reasonable design…we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error. Nor are they the products of a selective process to which divine predicates can be attributed in illogical, unscientific, and even mythic fashion. The great projects of the living creation point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before. Thus we can say today with a new certitude and joyousness that the human being is indeed a divine project, which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. Human beings are not a mistake but something willed; they are the fruit of love. They can disclose in themselves, in the bold project that they are, the language of the creating Intelligence that speaks to them and that moves them to say: Yes, Father, you have willed me.”
All from In the Beginning…
Pick the Benedict you like.